IFA meet Tanaiste on proposed Mercosur deal to bring more beef from Brazil

IFA President Tim Cullinan held a meeting with the Tanáiste and Minister for Trade Leo Varadkar yesterday, at which he insisted that the Government must reject the proposed EU Commission trade deal with the Mercosur countries including Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. 

IFA meet Tanaiste on proposed Mercosur deal to bring more beef from Brazil
Tanaiste Leo Varadkar and IFA President Tim Cullinan discuss the proposed Mercosur deal that could see an extra 100,000 tonnes of beef come from South America. Photo by: Finbarr O’Rourke

“By any measure, the Mercosur countries, particularly Brazil, have failed to meet the criteria laid down by the EU Commission for further access to the European beef market. The Irish Government must take a stand on this issue at EU level,” he said.

Tim Cullinan said our main export market in the UK is more unpredictable than ever post-Brexit. The UK is now free to do trade deals with 3rd countries including, the Mercosur bloc.

“The EU market is now 116% self-sufficient post-Brexit, yet the EU Commission want to facilitate Brazil to bring more beef into the EU,” he said.

“It defies logic that we would further undermine Irish and European beef farmers by allowing another 100,000 tonnes of beef to come from the Mercosur region,” he said.

IFA National Livestock Chair Brendan Golden said it’s hugely hypocritical for the Commission to be preaching about the Farm to Fork and Green Deal strategies, while at the same time facilitating wide scale environmental degradation in South America.

He said Irish beef producers are already operating below the cost of production.

“The EU Commission cannot have it both ways. They expect the highest standards from farmers here, yet they are willing to sign a deal like this. If the ideals of the EU Commission are to stand for anything, this has to be stopped in its tracks,” he said.

The IFA President said the Taoiseach must resist an attempt by some to suggest that the deal does not have to be ratified by Member States.

“Under EU rules, this deal must be voted on by every member state which effectively gives Ireland a veto. There is little or nothing in this deal for Ireland.  We must be prepared to reject it,” he said.

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